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How to Improve Manufacturing Production Rates Without Burning Out Your Employees

Improving your production rates without burning out your employees is all about efficiency and effectiveness. Every task has its costs and benefits. In order to maximize the benefits and minimize the costs, it is essential to calculate the ‘net benefit’ of your employees’ labor versus their production. In other words, you must find the perfect balance between employee production and employee effectiveness. Here are several things you can do to help your business reach this balance of optimal efficiency without employee burnout.

Perform a SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is a form of global evaluation where you can measure the effectiveness of several aspects of your business. SWOT is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Get together with your managers to discuss the strengths of your employees and how to optimize those strengths. Do you have employees in areas where their talents or strengths are not being utilized?

Next, talk about the weaknesses of your production processes and employees. Is there a way you can simplify certain tasks so that your employees have more time to work on more important matters? Third, analyze your opportunities related to production, as well as any threats to the efficiency of your employees.

Ask Employees for Feedback

A good leader is always humble enough to ask for feedback—especially from those who sit lower on the ‘leadership totem pole’. Rather than assuming that you know what your employees are experiencing, take the time to ask your employees for ideas on how to improve production and keep them from experiencing burnout. Do your part to create an atmosphere where employees feel comfortable voicing their concerns to their managers. Help your managers understand how important employee feedback is to you.

One way you can ask for feedback is through anonymous surveys. This is a great option for employees who may be scared to voice their concerns or make recommendations. Secondly, you may want to put a ‘feedback box’ in the breakroom where your employees can voice their ideas without having to fill out a formal questionnaire.

Keep Things Clean and Organized

Why make a task harder than it needs to be? To improve employee productivity, as well as employee satisfaction, continuously seek for ways to simplify the production process. Get a team together to analyze the manufacturing process and where time is being wasted in the production line. Create a system that keeps things clean and organized so that employees aren’t losing time and energy in searching for things or redoing someone else’s work. Furthermore, a clean and organized workplace improves the overall work environment, leading to greater employee productivity, health, and happiness

Streamline Waste Disposal

No matter what it is, simplification always helps save time and energy. A great way to further simplify the manufacturing process includes making the waste disposal process simpler. Streamlining waste disposal saves time which can be put towards improving production and, thus, mitigating employee burnout.

One way to do this is by using less single-use materials. This not only reduces waste—making it a greener option—but it also reduces the time your employees have to spend disposing of production waste. Secondly, you may want to install self-dumping hoppers. Self-dumping hoppers save over 125,400 hours each year by streamlining the waste disposal process. The costs of a self-dumping hopper could be easily paid back in employee time saved.

Work with Employees’ Internal Clocks

Every individual has an internal clock, or circadian rhythm, that helps dictate her or his prime eating, sleeping, and working patterns. Working against one’s individual clock often leads to exhaustion, irritability, and ineffectiveness. An easy way to improve production as a whole business is to help each individual in that business improve his or her efficiency. Analyzing your employees’ prime times of efficiency can help you better harness your employees’ talents and abilities.

Try to give your employees their most important tasks during their prime time of efficiency, whether it be in the morning, afternoon, or evening. You can calculate an individual’s circadian rhythm using simple observations or online tests. You could even ask your employees directly concerning what time of day they usually feel most alert and effective.

Take Advantage of Breaks

Breaks seem counterintuitive when it comes to production optimization—after all, you can’t work during a break—but they really can improve employee efficiency and minimize employee burnout. Small breaks help reduce stress and revitalize energy. Incorporating more small breaks into your employees’ schedules will actually help them to work most effectively and efficiently throughout the workday. Breaks can also help improve the business environment by allowing for positive socialization between employees.

Improve the Work Environment

The work environment is a third variable that affects both the production and satisfaction of your employees. So, in order to boost productivity and decrease employee burnout, try instilling a better work environment. One way to do this is to encourage a culture of cooperation, collaboration, and communication—with a small dose of competition to help employees feel eager to improve. Apply a rewards system as an incentive for employees to feel accountable for their labor.

Another important culture you should instill is a culture of health. When your employees are mentally and physically healthy, they will get sick less, work harder, and develop greater stamina. Employees who are healthy and happy will increase their production threshold without experiencing burnout.

Optimize Communication

A great way to improve production is to improve communication. Points of inefficiency in the manufacturing process tend to stem from lack of consistency or communication. When employees are not being trained adequately, they make more mistakes and often slow down the assembly line. Furthermore, methods of communication matter. Try incorporating more technology into the workplace so that you and your employees can communicate more frequently and more quickly, increasing production and mitigating errors.

A business is like a machine. When each piece fits perfectly within the grand design, the machine can work more effectively and smoother. Applying these principles of production optimization and employee satisfaction will improve your “machine.” It will enhance your company’s workflow and increase your business’ productivity—all without leading to employee burnout.

Read this next: Best Practices for Lean Manufacturing

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